Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Enjoyment Rating: *****
This book would be rated: R for sex, language, and violence
Source: Audible for iTunes
Books I've read this year: 114
This is another book that sat at the bottom of my Audible pile for a long time, and while I know why it took me a long time to get to it (I'm generally not a fan of fantasy/sci fi, my mom started it and said it was nasty, and it's super long), it was like a great big, super tasty, greasy bacon cheeseburger. A book that was a delight to greedily plow through, but one that left me feeling a little bit guilty afterwards.
Shadow is nearing his final days in prison when he learns that he's going to be released early because his wife was killed in a car accident. On the way home for her funeral, he meets a mysterious man called Wednesday. At first, Shadow is repulsed by Wednesday, but within hours, he agrees to work for him-- to do his bidding, whatever it may be. It's apparent to the reader (although perhaps not to Shadow) that Wednesday has him under his spell. And Wednesday is no ordinary boss-- he's both a con artist and the Norse god Odin, and he's hired Shadow to help him prepare for a war between the old gods and the new ones, most of whom have moved to America.
For the next 500 pages, Shadow and Odin traverse the country, gathering the gods on their side, getting themselves into scrapes, and running into Shadow's dead wife. The first 400 pages throw out so many threads of a story that I wasn't sure if Gaiman was going to be able to wrap them up in a satisfying way, but he definitely did. I listened to most of the last seven hours in one furious session, sure to pop the earbuds in my ears whenever the kids were within listening range. The book is one part murder mystery, one part spy thriller, one part romance (although not a great part of the book, since the female lead is rotting), and all parts great writing. It's a dark story that really moves.